Some supspected smugglers have reportedly attacked Chidi Johnson, an officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun Area command I while on patrol with other customs operative at Ilashe village in the Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State.
It was gathered that the suspects allegedly matcheted the officer’s head and inflicted injuries in other parts of his body.
The customs’ spokesperson in the state, Abdullahi Maiwada confirmed the attack and the arrest in a statement made available in Abeokuta.
Maiwadah said five suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack and are currently undergoing interrogation.
Maiwada added that the operatives had on Friday, intercepted thirty-five bags of smuggled parboiled rice of 50kg each ferried by a convoy of motorcyclists in the area.
According to him, the officers on their way back met suspected smugglers who allegedly mobilised themselves and launched “a vicious attack with assorted weapons on Officers performing their lawful duties.”
The customs spokesperson explained that Johnson, an Assistant Superintendent, sustained grievous injuries from the matchet cuts.
He said, “In an effort to repel the attack and avoid blood shed, one officer of the Customs, Assistant Superintendent Chidi Johnson was brutally matcheted, sustaining deep cuts in various parts of his body.
” The seriously wounded Officer was immediately rushed to the hospital for medical attention, and luckily he is responding to treatment.
“To this end, five suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident and are currently undergoing interrogation.”
Maiwada warned the smugglers to stop using uninformed youths as cannon fodders in their nefarious trade.
“We challenge them to bring their own biological children to attack personnel of the Service and have a taste of the consequences of such act.”
Confirming the incident , the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP, Abimbola Oyeyemi disclosed that the five suspects are currently undergoing interrogation at the Customs’ office.
Oyeyemi further said the police will prosecute the suspects for attempted murder, while the customs will charge them for smuggling.
He said, “those that were arrested are still with the Customs operatives.”
When asked if the Customs had not usurped police power of arrest , Oyeyemi said ,anyone could make arrest, but, the power of prosecution of criminal matters is with the police.
He added “they have informed us; we have been informed. There are two offences now; smuggling and the offence of grievious harms that were inflicted on the Customs operatives.
“The offence of smuggling will be handled by the Customs, while the criminal offence of grievious harms and attempted murder are criminal matters that will be prosecuted by the police.”